Azerbaijan, Baku/ Trend , corr. A. Ismayilova/ Trend's exclusive interview with the Head of the Permanent Representative Office of Azerbaijan Republic to U. N. and Azerbaijan's Ambassador to Cuba, Agshin Mehtiyev,
- You have recently presented a letter of credentials as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Azerbaijan Republic to Cuba. Have you achieved results from your negotiations in Havana?
- I think that my visit to Cuba was a success. I held numerous meetings and talks in different ministries, offices and agencies of the Republic of Cuba, where we discussed firm proposals on further development and improvement of bilateral relations between our countries in political, economic, cultural and other fields. Even since the Soviet period, Azerbaijan and Cuba have developed ties with each other. Then, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, due to different objective and subjective reasons, these ties were broken. Today, we should restore them. There are a dozen fields where we could co-operate on the basis to be mutually advantageous. I may exemplify a students exchange between the both countries. In their time, the significant number of Cuban students obtained their education in Azerbaijan's educational institutions, and today the Cuban party is ready to continued co-operation in this field. For our part, we may send our students including those learning the Spanish language, those working with Latin American subjects and other students who are interested in travelling to Cuba.
The other interesting area of co-operation could be medicine. Cuba has an excellent school of ophthalmology. We have already established the delivery of a number of vital medications. The Cubans are presently paying a great deal of attention to the development in the field of renewable sources of energy. As far as you know, this is one of the issues which are currently importance to us ( Azerbaijan) as well. There are certain possibilities and a potential for co-operation in the field of exploration activity and development of natural resources, etc. I could list many other fields and areas in which we have a common interest. But, in order to develop economic relations between the two countries, we must first form a legal base, elaborate on it and then conclude necessary agreements and contracts. This was one of the issues that we had agreed to co-operate jointly at the existing stage.
Finally, to put all the planning into action, it is necessary to make a number of visits to the heads of interested offices and related agencies. This is a brief outline of that programme, which we intend to be involved with in the near future.
- Everything that you have stated refers to economic co-operation, but what is the plan of both parties in the field of political co-operation?
First of all, as I have mentioned before, we had warm friendly relations, which we must fully restore. Cuba is the country which has an authoritarian influence in its region. Cuba is the country, which will lead the World's Non-Alignment Movement in the next three years. That means that we are seriously interested in restoring and developing bilateral political talks between our countries. Azerbaijan is also of a great interest to Cuba due to our country's location in the region, Azerbaijan's increasing role at the international arena and in Muslim World, in particular.
As you know, the Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister, Elmar Mammadyarov, recently paid an official visit to Cuba. The logical next step for Azerbaijani-Cuban relationship might be a response visit to Azerbaijan of a High-ranking Cuban Foreign Ministry Delegation. In other words, we may support each other on a bilateral basis on a political platitude, and also offer each other full assistance in different international organizations and agencies, wherever our positions permit us to.
You have touched upon the preparation for top level reciprocal visits. Has there been any firm agreements been made in this regard?
- We are constantly working on this. I have already stated that the Head of the Azerbaijani Foreign Office has recently visited Cuba. Today, we have agreed to work through the possibility of organizing reciprocal visits with some of our delegations within the economic and other areas. I hope that we will obtain more detailed information concerning it in the nearest future.